What’s Your “Word” For 2019?

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I have not been a big fan of resolutions in the past simply because they seem to have a poor stigma surrounding them. Resolutions seem to have become the butt of jokes, a frustration for gym rats, and stress-inducers for those who set them. For awhile I aimed to set goals rather than resolutions. My thought process behind this decision was completely based on definitions. Resolutions are decisions to do or not do things, whereas goals are focused ambitions to achieve a desired result.

Over the last few years, I made goals for myself at the beginning of each year. These goals provided direction, and also allowed me to plan and prepare to take realistic actions for my desired outcomes. Sometimes I realigned my goals throughout the year to better serve my changing lifestyle. Other times I quit on my goals or rolled them over to the next year. There were even a few goals I proudly achieved.

For 2019, I neither set resolutions or goals. Instead, I’ve chosen a single word to bring me guidance throughout the year. It took me some time to narrow down what my one word should be though…

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2018 In Reflection

My Facebook Year in Review has officially chosen the most liked pictures and created a little video for me to reflect on 2018 so guess what else that means? It is the time for my own reflections as well! The fifty degree weather, lack of snow, and limited holiday decor at our home are leaving me a bit on the Grinch-side. However, I am looking forward to 2019 and feel so incredibly blessed to have had all the experiences of 2018.

In tradition of the past few years, 2018 is being hailed as the newest Worst Year of All Worst Years. I didn’t get the message though. 2018 was by far my best year yet. 2019 has a lot to live up to when I look back at this past year, but I am so excited for what the future has in store.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before welcoming the New Year, I want to take a second and be grateful for all this year has given to me.

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6 Lessons I Learned In 6 Months Of Marriage

Today marks a half-year since G and I said “I do” in front of our loved ones and God. Honestly, I cannot believe it has only been six months. A lot has happened during that time including a career shift for G, both of us enrolling into coursework, a new truck and house, an adorable nephew, and all the other thrills of being newlyweds with busy schedules. While enjoying sushi at our favorite restaurant on Friday, we reminisced about all of our milestones since the wedding. The ink is barely dry on the marriage certificate, but we are excited for the next memory we’re able to make in this adventure.

One thing we had fun talking about over dinner was what we’ve learned so far as newlyweds. Some were foretold during marriage counseling and illuminated during our few months as newlyweds, others we’ve uncovered on our own. We have learned a lot in this short amount of time, and I can only imagine how much more we have to discover.

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4 Wise Tips on Preparing for Marriage After the Wedding

I know I’ve said it before, but here I am saying it again: the wedding is only the beginning of what should be the rest of your blissful married life. As husband and wife, you’ll be embarking on years of new adventures after the one day of festivities. Your wedding day is only a grain of sand in the grand beach of your entire life. It is best to prepare for life following the Big Day and not only the day itself.

I am a big believer that if you adequately prepare for something — that is, to prepare mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, all of the above — then your chances of success increase substantially. Though I know there will never be enough wisdom and information I can gain to fully prepare for marriage, I do feel I’ve gained a few gems of advice in which to set a firm foundation as a newlywed.

These four gems include advice on communication, clarification, adjustment, and agreement between both the husband and wife in order to have a happy marriage. They touch on possible challenges once you’re married and encourage you to invest in your partner following your vows. They are all examples of how G and I plan to enter our marriage, and I would love to share them with you!

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A Mixed Tape on Ceremony Music

G and I are attempting to narrow down our list of song options for the ceremony. (I think this has been his favorite part of planning to date.) We need around 13 songs for the entire church event and it seems almost impossible to minimize the list to only a dozen or so titles. We are considering mostly modern instrumental music, though there are a few traditional pieces we’ve decide upon for the rentals and other matured guests.

I’ll be sharing our little finds throughout the next few months on the growing list below, but please feel free to give some advice and/or suggestions for other songs we should use.

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Women’s Day Retreat of IF:Gathering

It has been almost two months since I left the event industry and began a new career. And I have to say, I’m quite in love with my new arrangement. Not only have I found necessary time for myself and my loved ones, but I have found abundant free time for writing, reading, and experiencing life which means many scheduled posts in the upcoming months. God is good!

When I still have those urges for event planning, though, I am also in very good hands. On March 3rd I was lucky enough to assist in orchestrating an amazing women’s retreat called If:Gathering at my church for 300 ladies passionate for God, strengthening their faith, and performing discipleship. IF’s mission is to equip women with gospel-centered resources, events, and community so they may learn more about who God is and disciple other women. (You can find out more about the organization here.) Talk about an amazingly inspirational day, and some seriously deep thoughts coming from asking “What IF…”

IF began with a heavy discussion on the darkness of Life: doubt. (Literally this was the topic covered minutes into the first speaker’s speech, guys, so talk about a solid foundation for the day’s agenda.) Questions such as “How would you describe the season you’re living?” and “What makes you weak?” were asked. Imagery of sparking fires within ourselves to grow and flourish were mentioned. Each woman’s purpose in Life was explored. And a stirring occurred within me which made me reevaluate a few of the only negative things still hanging around in my life. It was quite the day, friends!

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What FAQs to Add to Your Website

If your guest list contains guests like mine, then you are going to have some important questions directed your way prior to your Big Day. Some questions some guests are hesitant to ask the bride and the groom directly though. Which is why wedding websites definitely come in so handy! (Don’t have a wedding website yet? Check out my post on where to begin here.) Websites are a great way to get the pertinent schedule information you want directly to your guests without having to field a bunch of e-mails while trying to finalize your wedding plans. Basically, they’re a win-win for both sides!

A FAQ section on your wedding website is a great way to address the most important wedding questions (and even a few non-essential, funny ones as well) that are going to be asked. Since there are so many potential questions to be asked, I’ve compiled a list of some wedding guest questions I have either personally received (as a wedding coordinator or as a bride-to-be) or know to be frequently asked. Please feel free to take these questions and any of my answer examples as your own to tweak for your wedding website FAQ section as well.

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Cheers to Transitions

I began my position at the Winery on April 3, 2017. I was given the title Wine Club Manager and Event Coordinator, and was placed in charge of over 750 members with the goal of developing events to not only attract new members but also keep current. It has been a crazy year full of both known and unknown territory. I’ve created amazing relationships with many of my members and now call them my friends. My teammates at the winery have been incredible as well, offering assistance where needed, advice when asked, and numerous laughs along the way. I could not be more thankful.

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“That’s What She Said.”

I knew something was awry when G was adamant we go for a walk on the North Pier at 7:00pm Tuesday night. The walk didn’t cause suspicion, but the change in scenery and necessity of time frame made me suspect this Tuesday night might not be like any of our other typical one-night-of-the-week lazy nights. His suggestion of us going to a fancier restaurant for dinner that night (when we had plans to go grocery shopping anyways) made my eyes slant a little deeper too — what did he have planned? Being a Tuesday evening, though, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of all these oddities.

After watching an episode and a half of our latest Netflix binge “The Following” (Yes! He made us pause in the middle of an episode — that guy!), we prepared to head over to the opposite side of the river for our walk. As I put on my shoes, G disappeared outside for a minute — another odd behavior. I ended up meeting him at the door to leave and noticed he was putting his phone away. He took me by the hand, opened my car door, and we left for the Northside.

When we pulled into the beach’s parking lot, I really began to question what this walk was going to entail because there was a professional photographer setting up his tripod on the sidewalk leading to the pier. G, checking his phone quickly, never even glanced at the camera. Instead he steered me to the pier and its lighthouse.

If you have never been to Michigan, then I definitely recommend you make a trip sometime during the summer to come and enjoy our numerous beaches and lighthouses scattered along Lake Michigan. Sunbathe during the day and witness the breathtaking sunsets at night. They truly are incredible! G and I walk down to the beach very often to watch the sun set; I live only a quick minute’s walk away (thus the unusual request to drive to a different beach for this night’s walk.)

Tonight’s sunset was one of the best of Summer 2017. With only a handful of dates remaining of summer, the days of our pier walks were numbered before the cruel winter months would make the piers icy boardwalks, unsafe for anyone to attempt to trek. Tonight, though, was a perfect 70-something degrees, cloudless, and still on the water.

G and I strolled along the river towards the pier hand-in-hand. We talked about the ducks diving in the water, the light waves crashing on the sand, the fishermen along the sidelines, and the lighthouse looming ahead of us. We stopped several times to marvel at the sunset, to look back at the coast, to talk about God’s glory, to just enjoy one another’s company — our typical type of walk.

Our walk took us to the end of the pier. We meandered slowly, taking pictures like tourists to document the evening. My mind kept flashing to the photographer on shore and I attempted not to keep looking over my shoulder to see where he had ended up setting his camera. Was he here for us? Did G plan for him? On a Tuesday night? It seemed odd but…

Then we began heading back to shore, walking on the same side of the pier as we had come. The side towards the river, away from the beach where the cameraman could possibly be catching any snap shots of us. I started to doubt my suspicions and physically felt my heart beat slow a few beats. This was just a typical walk after all.

With his arm around my waist, G was still steering me to shore. As we passed beneath the main lighthouse, however, he halted and stepped sideways to face me. He pulled me into an embrace and I could feel him fumbling for something in his pocket. My heart soared; this was not a typical walk after all!

I was smiling as G pulled away with the box in his hand, and asked, “Babe, do you remember what we’ve been talking about?” Then he dropped to one knee. I was nodding and smiling like a fool as he continued simply, “Well, I think it’s about time we made it official. Will you marry me?”

I said, “YES!” and we kissed as people on the other pier clapped and cheered. There were also the unmistakable sounds of camera lenses shuttering. G pointed towards the lighthouse where not only my parents stood waving, but also his parents did as well! He had orchestrated his proposal to be witnessed by our closest loved ones!

G and I had been discussing marriage for some time leading to the proposal. We knew God had brought us together and that we were made for one another. There was something about our relationship that simply clicked like nothing else before. It is kind of amazing how quickly you can know you have found the One with whom you’re supposed to live out your life…

G’s persistence to take a walk at 7:00pm was due to our parents meeting and hiding out on the pier that Tuesday night. As family is incredibly important to both of us, G wanted our closest family members to be a part of the evening. I’m an only child, so my parents loved being involved, and G’s parents look at both of us as their kids. It was a beautiful decision on G’s part and one I (and they) will treasure.

On a side note, the actual photographer was not part of G’s plans at all, and he was actually pretty upset when he saw the man in the parking lot. He figured I would begin to wonder what was happening having seen him.

After the proposal, G, our parents, and myself walked the remainder of the pier to our cars and went to dinner together to celebrate. Following dinner, we began calling our closest friends and family members to tell them the exciting news. It has been a whirlwind since that night with wedding planning and enjoying being engaged, but I could not ask for a better partner in life and future husband. I could not have imagined a more perfect setting for the two of us, and the inclusion of our families meant the world to me.

I love you, always and forever, G.

Cheers to a bright future ahead and many fun and exciting projects to come!

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